Cappadocia

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Ayvali Village and Camirasu

Within an hour of take off from Istanbul we were in Cappadocia, 'land of beautiful horses'.  Mentioned in the bible, home to St George the patron saint of England slayer of dragons and to Santa Claus?   Seventy five minutes later we arrived at Gamirasu, a cave hotel in the beautifully authentic Ayvali village.   Ibrahim Basturan and his German wife lovingly and sensitively created their boutique hotel from a group of abandoned caves and buildings, some of which was a monastery there is even a 12th century Byzantine Christian church, with remains of frescoes.  They  opened their uniquely situated hotel in 1998, so it was in its infancy when we visited.  There are no other hotels, restaurants, gift shops or other distractions.  It is sublime

      

 In the warmer months, days begin  on the patio with an outstanding breakfast featuring locally produced honey, jams, fruits and eggs which are acquired by walking across to the neighbours house and lifting one from underneath a hen

 The banquets provided here in this remote rural village were the best meals we had on our trip.  Because of the lack of restaurants locally, breakfast and dinner are include in the  $60 per day tariff.  Wine at $3 per bottle ensures some very memorable meals

Only the freshest local produce is used to create typical village style meals

Dinner Menu on our first night

Leek Soup-Salad with a potato dish

stuffed Pepper - spiced cream cheese

 chicken kebabs - cold rice pudding

All were homemade and delicious

 

 

 

Typical basic tuff stone room.  The beds are made of wood and the bedding, mattresses, rugs etc are made of cotton.  All combine to induce a welcome sound restorative nights sleep 

A guide book describes the hotel as being built to 'certain psychic principles of well being'.  I don't know what that means but I do know I felt better both physically and spiritually than I can ever remember feeling before or since  

A friend later told me that Cappadocia, Uluru, Stonehenge etc are located at the point where ley lines converge.  In these mystical places it's impossible not to feel content.  Mumbo jumbo, maybe but it worked for me

The kitchen may have been carved by monks centuries ago but Nezihe and Mefail have the use of the best of modern equipment.   Anyone around the hotel during the day gravitates to the heart of Gamirasu to sip glass after glass of tea and chat to Nezihe, Mefail and their lovely daughter.  The fact they speak little English is no barrier to conversation

 

 

 

 

Ibrahim's cousin Suleyman Cakir is, via the internet Gamirasu's contact with the outside world.  He is a great ambassador for the hotel and Cappadocia.  He  had endless patience when answering all our pre trip questions, booked our internal flights , with tickets waiting for us when we checked into the Empress Zoe.  He owns Euphrates Tours in Urgup and loves to dance!
                            Suleyman gets everyone in party mood

Dinnertime is fun time

Ibrahim and Ken play chequers

At stake is the ownership of the hotel, thankfully Ibrahim won.   After a wonderful dinner there is nowhere to go in town so we make our own entertainment with the help of Ibrahim and friends

                          Dancing with Daddy

Ibrahim's Empire 2001

Coming Soon Phase 2

                                                                                                Our Neighbours

Just across the Roman style bridge, live Ahmed his sister and their hard working mother

 

 

Proud Grandpa,  uttered one word, 'grandsons'

 

Women still carry pitchers to get water at the communal fountain.  Every other day a stone oven is heated for the village women to bake their bread.  Some make lace and do embroidery.   Men either farm, the main crops being apricots which they dry out on flat roof tops, grapes and potatoes, or they seek work in the surrounding area as stonemasons  

 

The villages were all very welcoming,  especially the women and of course the curious children Ibrahim told us if were were around on bread baking day we would be invited to try some
 
Women returning from the fields are a common site, as are groups of men congregating around cafe's and mosques playing board games
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